There May be a Castle
11-year-old Mouse is more of a thinker than a talker, whose dreamy personality drives his mum and big sister Violet to distraction. When the family car crashes one very snowy Christmas Eve on the way to visit their grandparents, Mouse seems to be transported into a fantasy world of magical animals, dangerous knights and strange wizards - all of which bear a striking resemblance to his toys and people he knows in the real world. Violet is left to struggle for survival and her dreadful yet inspiring parallel 'real life' story of what happens in the car is told alongside Mouse's more surreal tale.
Piers Torday, whose Last Wild trilogy won the Guardian Children Fiction prize and was shortlisted for the Carnegie medal, is a beautiful writer. Reading There May Be a Castle is a weird experience, filled with dread and delight in equal measures, both mesmerising and overwhelming with emotion. It's a story of bravery, fear, death, and ultimately the power of family love and imagination - with shades of The Wizard of Oz. Have tissues and big hugs at the ready, ideally read it together.